The CBHS students enjoyed the comfort and ambiance of Chili’s as they ate and celebrated the holidays this week. The HDS Foundation group, including Cristina Miranda Gilson, Carla Otiniano, Hannah Miller and Dr. Sandy Rizzo Weiner joined the class and both teachers of it for this fun and successful gathering. For the past weeks, the students had the opportunity to take part in a “Secret Elf” event. One of their field trips was to AC Moore, where each of them had a specific budget and had to plan out exactly which gift they wanted to purchase, what they wanted to write in their card, how to wrap the gift, and, most importantly, how to keep the secret to themselves. Each task this event demanded of the students proved to be great accomplishments for each of them.

Arriving at Chili’s gift in hand, the students were visibly excited for what was going to be a very special and engaging day. Upon sitting down, each was responsible for ordering their food; at the close of the meal, the students paid for their own meals (including tip). These specific parts of the event aided greatly in teaching and reinforcing these small but vital life skills. Thanks to Chili’s at Weston Road for being gracious and doing individual bills for our students.

Socialization and Communication are areas of focus for this class, and engaging the students in a restaurant outing is a great opportunity for them to utilize and understand what they are learning at school. We have been very impressed how the students in this group are ‘coming out of their shells’ and beginning to interact with each other on a comfortable and personal level. They laugh, tell jokes, and are truly interested in what each other has to say. And, the fact that each took the time to read the special message their classmate had written and were sincerely appreciative of the gifts was a pleasant addition. We can’t wait to see what the coming year will bring.